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Letter: Proposed County Zoning Amendment Is ‘A Bridge Too Far’

by RestonNow.com May 26, 2017 at 10:15 am 10 Comments

This letter was submitted by Reston resident Bruce Ramo. It does not reflect the opinions of Reston Now. We publish article and opinion contributions of specific interest to the Reston community. Contributions may be edited for length or content.

Too much, too soon.

This is the crux of the community’s concern with the proposed zoning amendments, which were the subject of a community meeting with Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins on May 24.

  • Too much emphasis on promoting economic growth, without firm commitments for the infrastructure to support it.
  • Too much willingness to give legal priority to the quantitative possibilities of increased density presented by the Master Plan, without addressing the qualitative conditions of the Plan’s Vision Statement and Planning Principles.
  • Too much form over substance in engaging the public in three quick presentations rather than collaborating to develop a balanced approach for the future growth of Reston.
  • Too much hubris in assuming that the County’s evaluation and analyses of the impact of increased density, without a willingness to consider other thoughtful analyses of the impact to roads, safety, schools and recreational facilities.
  • Too much commitment to the County’s internal work plan for modifying the zoning ordinances.
  • Too much emphasis on getting it done now instead of getting it done right.

Each day, many of us pass a dangerous portion of Wiehle Avenue near Sunset Hills Road where a pedestrian bridge is slated to be built someday. The area is the gateway between the Planned Residential Community of Reston (PRC) and the Metro station area with its thousands of new apartments and townhouses.

The missing pedestrian bridge is a symbol of all that is wrong with the County’s zoning amendment and the manner in which it would facilitate growth without the infrastructure to support it.

The proposed amendment would allow even more development throughout the PRC and elsewhere, but where is the pedestrian bridge? Where are the other new or improved parks, roads, schools and paths to service the higher density? Why is the County pressing to facilitate more growth in Reston, but not balancing the growth with near-term action to make that growth safe, convenient and sustainable? Why is Supervisor Hudgins content to tell Restonians that infrastructure is not her job, as she did [Wednesday] night?

This is the essence of the community’s challenge to the proposed zoning amendment. The County’s approach simply enables far too much development too soon. Please urge the County Planning Staff and Supervisor Hudgins to step back, table the proposed zoning amendment, and work with the community on a more sensible zoning plan to support the future growth of Reston.

  • Mike M

    Well stated.
    My questions is given all these common sense concerns, why does our elected representation charge ahead? What’s really in it for them?

    • cRAzy

      The answer to your great question, MM, is that the County–especially the Board–can’t (or won’t) manage its spending so it has to promote development to generate property tax revenues to pay the next bill due.

      It’s called a “death spiral” and we all get to be part of it, you know, like the mice in the experiment.

      • Mike M

        I guess it’s hard for me to see that because I see that it is not a solution to anything and just makes the situation worse in the long run.

        Last night I was driving down Sunrise Valley and I saw a now familiar phenomenon. A guy was walking down the grassy median with a bag in his hand. I have seen all kinds of people doing this, but only last night figured out why.

        You can see the development under way between Popeyes and the hotel has taken up all the space right up to the north edge of the road. So if you want to walk between, say the Westin or adjacent apartments sand the Circle K, there is no place to walk.

        Like Bruce’s “Bridge Too Far,” it begs the question: If we must allow explosive growth, can’t we put some minor civilized constraints upon it? Cathy Hudgins?

        Lately, it seems the County apparatchiks are holding us down while others have their way with us.

        • cRAzy

          More of that great County planning!

        • 40yearsinreston

          Appealing to Hudgins is wasted breath

  • Jenny Gibbers

    Basically the county can dictate their will upon Reston because its not incorporated as a township but instead is loosely managed by the RA. The father of Reston in that sense planted a time bomb and even issued an ominous “density is community” warning but his entourage was too infatuated and still is, to this day. That is what happens when you play with orgone accumulators in your spare time. Lessons learned.

  • cRAzy

    Another key transpo project, the Soapstone Connector, proposed by RMAG in 2009 and hyped in a community meetings with alternative routings and environmental studies in 2015 and 2016, is sort of planned for contracting circa 2025, but a regional transpo group didn’t even put it on a list for funding.

    What the hell is going on?

    Given that this is the first major transpo project given any County attention (and two other major toll road crossings have been proposed), I would suggest any development in the transit station areas be held up until this bridge is built.

    • 40yearsinreston

      Bingo!
      She thinks her effort to pick up a salary is all that is required

  • 40yearsinreston

    Hudgins only listens to developers
    Don’t vote for her ever again

  • LeftPolitico

    That is mind blowing for Hudgins to “tell Restonians that infrastructure is not her job.” I wonder what she would say if she were asked “What is your job?”

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